I’ve been through some stuff.
You have too.
I know some things now, because of it.
You do too.
Would I prefer not to have endured the first thing in order to learn what I learned? Part of me wants to say, YES GIVE ME SUNSHINE AND WILDFLOWERS, STRONG ARMS AND WIDE-OPEN HEARTS but then again, if I can’t see a shadow, I’m not in the light.
I could talk about the path my life has taken in two ways—kind of like describing one side of the road where the mess, the rubble, the road kill, the gaping holes lie, and the other side where I’ve made something new not because I’m a superficial Pollyanna in a plastered smile but because I am a motherfucking spiritual warrior with the battle scars to show for it.
The other day as we were driving along a mountain pass, my husband said, OH, I GET IT. Those Falling Rock Area signs are not urging us to drive with our heads sticking out the window, craning up to spot the boulder as it tumbles toward us. They’re to warn us that just around the next bend—BOOM—a chunk of something might be smack in the middle of our path.
Look, I’m not a ‘things happen for a reason’ kind of a gal. I’m a ‘life has darkness and light and when the darkness comes we can use it to transform’ kind of a gal. Those dark things can be scary, sharp, heavy, and they can also be crucibles, an intersection of elements coming together to make something new, something useful, something that might better illuminate my or someone else’s path.
So, now I know a little bit about recovering from a sudden divorce and a broken heart. I know a little bit about struggling with years of infertility. I know a little bit about raising a non-typical child. I know a little bit about loneliness, about overwhelm, about dreams left on the side of the road where I watch them in the rear-view getting farther and farther away.
Think for a minute about what you’ve been through, what you might be still going through.
You’ve raised a child on your own.
You’ve survived abuse.
You’ve lost someone you didn’t think you could live without.
You’re overcoming a health crisis.
You’re living with someone who’s fighting for their life.
You have a chronic condition.
You’re in the tall grass of parenting a child who has needs that makes a Rubik’s Cube look like Tiddlywinks.
You’re at the cusp of a new life that hasn’t yet come into view.
You know things.
These things you know are gifts and we need them. We need you.
Not because you’ve lived a life of sunshine and wildflowers. Not because you’re always strong or you always move through the world with a wide-open heart.
We need you because you made something from what dropped in your path out of nowhere, that thing that blocked your way and filled the sky.
We need what you found in the dark.